Abductors said to have shot German hostage

23rd July 2007, Comments 0 comments

23 July 2007, Kabul/Berlin (dpa) - The recovered body of a German engineer kidnapped in Afghanistan had a gunshot wound to the back, a provincial government official said Sunday.

23 July 2007

Kabul/Berlin (dpa) - The recovered body of a German engineer kidnapped in Afghanistan had a gunshot wound to the back, a provincial government official said Sunday.

The German newspaper Die Welt quoted witnesses as saying that dam engineer Ruediger B, who suffered from diabetes, collapsed after he, another German and five Afghans were taken on a forced march in the heat. After lying on the ground for some time, he was shot.

On its website, the paper said that the kidnappers were not part of the Taliban insurgency but were Pashtun bandits. It said only an autopsy could show if Ruediger, abducted Wednesday, was already dead when shot.

It said that German consular officials had spoken Sunday by telephone to the second German hostage.

Another news website, Spiegel Online, identified a witness as Eshaq Noorzai, the Afghan who was freed at the same time as Ruediger's body was handed over to authorities. He is the brother of Arif Khan Noorzai, deputy speaker of the Afghan parliament.

In Afghanistan, the spokesman for the governor of Maidan Wardak province said that Ruediger had lost a lot of blood from the wound. The body was being taken from the central province to Kabul for further examination.

The two German engineers along with their five Afghan colleagues were kidnapped in the province's Jaghato district.

In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted Sunday that Germany would not allow itself to be blackmailed by the Taliban.

"We must show that we are not able to be blackmailed, that we have an unmistakeable attitude to these matters, and that we stand up for our safety and that of the people there," she said on ARD public television.

Initially a Taliban spokesman had claimed Saturday that the radicals executed the two Germans along with Eshaq Noorzai and the other four Afghans because Germany refused to meet the group's demands.

In Berlin, officials said a German Foreign Ministry 24-hour crisis team continued to follow developments Sunday amid public shock at the death of the aid engineer.

"The team remains in close contact with the Afghan government and is still trying to resolve this," a Berlin spokesman said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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